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June 14, 2024


Last updated: June 29, 2024

How To Pass The Series 57 Securities Exam

By: Jeffrey Van Blarcom

Series 57 Exam Details and become an Equity Trader

What is the best way to prepare for the Series 57 exam? We get asked this question all the time. The answers is that, while everyone learns in a different way, there are certain steps that everyone must take to pass the Series 57 exam. Reading the Series 57 textbook is absolutely essential to passing the exam. You must read the book completely and fully. Read the book, take notes and highlight the key points. Once you have completed the textbook, take as many Series 57 practice questions as you can. The Series 57 exam prep software is designed to help you master the application of the knowledge. The article that follows will provide you with additional insight on how to pass the Series 57 exam.

Passing the Series 57 Exam

By Trace Fasano, Director of Education, The Securities Institute of America

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m just a really good test taker” and wondered “What do they know that I don’t?” Well as it turns out, there are certain things you can do to improve your test taking. And the best part is you don’t have to know any more of the technical information in order to do this. All standardized, multiple choice tests have certain things in common; here’s how to out-test the test, and help you become a better test taker and ace your Series 57 exam! Read the full question. Sounds really simple right? But most people don’t. Most of us are conditioned to skim through information to find the one little nugget we are looking for. If you’re approaching Series 57 exam questions this way you’re sabotaging yourself. So let’s be clear. When you are answering Series 57 exam questions, read the entire question and read all the answer choices. Then read the last sentence of the question again. That last line is the punch line in all Series 57 exam questions, “what do they want from me?” Use “process of elimination”. Always get rid of the answer choices you know can’t be correct. If you have used process of elimination, have two choices left, and you’re still not sure answer is right; go with the statistics. If one of the choices you haven’t eliminated is “all of the above”, choose it! This is one of the keys to outsmarting the Series 57 exam. Statistically it’s probably the correct choice. On the other hand, if you’ve used process of elimination and one of the choices you have left is “none of the above”, don’t pick it. Odds are it’s not the correct answer. The test writers for the Series 57 exam like include a correct answer. If a question gives you an answer choice that reads “not enough information to determine”, do not choose that answer. There is always enough information to answer a Series 57 exam question. Chances are there is more information than you need to answer any question on the Series 57 exam. Consider it a gift, now you have a one in three chance of getting the question correct! The cardinal rule in taking the Series 57 exam is Don’t Change Your Answers. If you have taken your time, read the full question, used process of elimination, and made a decision; do not second guess yourself. Statistically, when you change an answer, you change it to the wrong answer more often than not, so stick with your gut! The Series 57 exam will not give you a lot of information that you can go back and use to answer a question better the second time. Keep your head in the game. That means you should do the questions you are sure of first. Leave the ones that cause you grief for last. Makes sense right? But here’s the rub: you need to answer each question in order for the computer to generate the next one; there is no “skip” button. So here’s how we skip questions in on the Series 57 exam: First, read the full question. If the question is confusing or asking about an area that you are unfamiliar with (really, whatever the reason, its ok) pick an answer, and click on “record and review”. The computer will then bring up the next question on your Series 57 exam. When you are done with all the questions, the computer will show you the questions you clicked record and review on. These are the ones you skipped. Now you can answer those questions. Since you didn’t answer them earlier, you chose a random answer, you don’t have to worry about the statistics of changing your answers, and you’ll have plenty of time to work on the difficult questions. The Series 57 exam is not a speeded test. A speeded test is one that is designed so that only the brightest students will have enough time to finish. The Series 57 exam is designed to provide enough time for all students to complete each question on the exam. Taking is the Series 57 exam is stressful, even if you are a good test taker. By following this simple advice you will be able to tip the scales a bit more in your favor. Coupled with diligent test prep, you are well on your way to passing the Series 57 exam! A Series 57 agent is registered to trade equity and convertible debt on an agency or principal basis. The Series 57 exam will be presented in a one hundred question, multiple-choice format. Each candidate will have a total of 105 minutes with which to complete the exam and a score of 70% or higher is required to pass.

Taking the Series 57 Exam

The Series 57 exam is presented in multiple-choice format on a touch screen computer known as the PROCTOR system. No computer skills are required, and candidates will find that the test screen works in the same way as an ordinary ATM machine. Each test is made up of 50 questions that are randomly chosen from a test bank of thousands of questions. Each Series 57 exam will have several practice questions that do not count toward the final score. The test has a time limit of 105 minutes and is designed to provide enough time for all candidates to complete the exam. Each Series 57 exam will comprise questions that focus on the following areas:

Series 57 Exam Focus By Topic

# Questions

Trading Activities


Maintaining Books and Records, Trade Reporting and Clearance and Settlement


TOTAL      50

How to Prepare for the Series 57 Exam

For most candidates the combination of reading the textbook and using the exam prep software is enough to successfully complete the exam. It is recommended that the individual spend at least 40 hours preparing for the exam by reading the textbook, underlining key points and by taking as many practice questions as possible. We recommend that a student schedule their exam no more than one week after completing your Series 57 exam prep.

What type of business may be conducted by Series 57 Registered Representatives?

A Series 57 registered equity trader may conduct business in both equity and convertible debt on both an agency and principal basis.

What score is needed to pass the Series 57 exam?

A score of 70% or higher is needed to pass the Series 57 exam.

Are there any prerequisites for the Series 57 exam?

A candidate is required to also pass either the series 7 or series 62 test in addition to the 57 exam to be fully registered as an equity trader.

How do I schedule my Series 57 exam?

Ask your firm’s principal to schedule the exam for you or provide a list of test centers in your area. In most states you must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm prior to making an appointment. The Series 57 exam may be taken any day that the exam center is open.

What must I bring to the exam center?

You should only take a picture ID with you. Everything else will be provided, including a calculator and scratch paper.

How long will it take to get the results of my Series 57 exam?

The exam will be graded as soon as you answer your final question and hit the Submit for Grading button. It will take only a few minutes to get your results. Your grade will appear on the computer screen and you will be given a paper copy from the exam center.


The Series 57 exam may use NASDAQ, NASDAQ Market Center Execution System or NMCES to describe the NASDAQ execution system test takers are advised to view these terms as interchangeable.

Series 57 test-taking tips!

  • Read the full question before answering
  • Identify what the question is asking
  • Identify key words and phrases
  • Watch out for hedge clauses, for example, except and not
  • Eliminate wrong answers
  • Identify synonymous terms
  • Be wary of changing answers

Important Series 57 Exam Notes

Written by Jeffrey Van Blarcom

Experienced Managing Director with a demonstrated history of working in the professional securities training industry. Published author of more than 20 textbooks. Strong business development professional with a focus on content development and distribution.